TUPELO – Citizens turned out in a massive showing of support for the family of deceased Tupelo Police Sgt. Kevin “Gale” Stauffer Friday by lining the streets from First United Methodist Church to the Tupelo Memorial Park Cemetery on Joyner Avenue.
The funeral procession left the church, where funeral services for the 38-year-old officer were held, just before noon and was greeted residents holding black and blue and American flags along the way.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said he estimated more than 1,000 people lining the streets during the procession.
Hundreds of law enforcement cars from as far away as Florence, Ala. Jackson and Memphis, as well as local law enforcement filled the processional, guiding Stauffer’s family and friends to the internment.
The route passed Stauffer’s Woodlawn Street home where officers were standing at parade rest in watch over his family’s home. Officers have stood guard over the home since Sauffer’s passing.
Tupelo’s First United Methodist Church was the site of the funeral for Stauffer. He was killed responding to the armed bank robbery at 430 S. Gloster St. near Crosstown. The community was out in force to show support.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed an executive order authorizing flags in the state to be flown at half mast today.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton also is pleading for the public to come forward with information, and he encouraged anyone who is unable to attend Stauffer’s funeral service to show support by lining the route of the funeral procession at 11:45 a.m.
The procession left First United Methodist Church on Main Street going west to Gloster Street where it will turn north on Gloster Street, west on Jackson Street, north on Clayton Avenue, west onto Woodlawn Street and then north onto Joyner Avenue.
Main Street was be closed from Front Street to Madison Street from 8 a.m. until after the procession.
During the memorial, Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office will handle law enforcement duties inside the city of Tupelo.
“I hope everyone can line the procession route in a show of patriotism and support for Sergeant Stauffer’s family,” Shelton said.